Gig review: Eels - Academy, Glasgow

Here, as ever, the live and recorded vehicle of engagingly eccentric frontman Mark ‘E’ Everett proved to be so much more than just a typical classic blues band.

Eels - Academy, Glasgow

* * * *

We could perhaps have told this by the way Eels’ five members appeared before us, standing in a semicircle and wearing identical blue and white tracksuits, yet the true calibre of this group was found in their rich and urgently compelling music.

Celebrating the recent release of the widely-acclaimed new album Wonderful, Glorious, the show celebrated the trad glories of music created using just guitars and a drum kit, a style which remains timeless only when executed with this much raw feeling and willingness to break with the norm.

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Throughout the shuffling, upbeat pastoral On the Ropes, the devastatingly upbeat the Prizefighter and the Sound of Fear’s edgy psychedelia, the bearded E hollered in an exciting, emotive voice which threatened to grow into a yell, his guitar barking out chords yet wrapped around songs with a sweet pop heart.

E is no respecter of convention. Shortly after “remarrying” his guitarist Chet after ten years together (the rest of the band were playing Wind Beneath My Wings), he barrelled into an authentic but excitable cover of the Small Faces’ Itchycoo Park and then a roaring version of his own Souljacker Part 1, perhaps the two most diverse songs in the set.

There were only two encores, a reduction on some recent dates, but they were perfectly formed, encompassing the tender I’m Your Brave Little Soldier, a teasing version of Mr E’s Beautiful Blues and a suitably attitude-ridden Fresh Blood.

It made for a striking climax to a truly memorable show.